maize yield
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Vol 12 ◽  
Federico H. Larrosa ◽  
Lucas Borrás

Altered stand density affects maize yields by producing changes in both numerical yield components, kernel number per plant (KNP), and kernel weight (KW). Kernel number is determined by the accumulation of ear biomass during the flowering period, whereas KW is determined by the sink potential established during flowering and the capacity of the plant to fulfill this potential during effective grain filling. Here, we tested if different short shading treatments during different stages around flowering can help discriminate genotypic differences in eco-physiological parameters relevant for maize stand density yield response and associated yield components. Our specific objectives were to: (i) identify hybrids with differential shading stress response, (ii) explore shading effects over eco-physiological parameters mechanistically related to KNP and KW, and (iii) test if shading stress can be used for detecting differential genotypic yield responses to stand density. The objectives were tested using four commercial maize hybrids. Results indicated that KNP was the yield component most related to yield changes across the different shading treatments, and that the specific shading imposed soon after anthesis generated the highest yield reductions. Hybrids less sensitive to shading stress were those that reduced their plant growth rate the least and the ones that accumulated more ear biomass during flowering. Genotype susceptibility to shading stress around flowering was correlated to stand density responses. This indicated that specific shading stress treatments are a useful tool to phenotype for differential stand density responses of commercial hybrids.

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